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How come some people can think out of box while others fail to locate the very basics. In my context, I've been more than 2 years in IT industry and most of the things that I think of, have already been implemented so how can it be that some persons can be more creative and constructive in the IT industry and think more out of box?

  • How can I enhance my creativity and imagination ?
  • Only technically sound people can perform very well in this sector ?
  • How can I increase my effectiveness towards a solution (sometimes I think the tasks can be accomplished in less time than which I actually use) ?
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up vote 5 down vote accepted

There are more than a few points to ponder here. Are you wanting answers within 2 seconds of hearing a question or 2 hours? There is something to be said for how big of a window do you have on answering the question, what format is the answer to take, and a few other things that may be worth noting here as I'd imagine it is one thing to brainstorm an idea where things aren't necessarily nailed down and another to build the schedule for some big project where figures can't be pulled out of thin air on a whim. This is just something to ponder when you ask a question as if you ask someone, "How are you?" then I'm not sure you'd want that someone coming back 90 minutes later to say, "Oh, by the way, I'm fine," as you may not even remember asking the question. On the other hand, there can be time-sensitive questions where you may have to try to think quickly and be asked for educated guesses at times.

How can I enhance my creativity and imagination ?

Consider based on your interests and passions, what stories and ideas could be learned from knowing that domain well. If you are interested in sports then there can be various strategies there that may be worth knowing. A key point here at times to take an idea and then change a little and see what happens. Is it just as useful as before or more useful with this change added to it?

Some people may seem creative though they are tapping from a vast well of resources they have studied over time and filed away well. How well are you at recalling details or concepts someone has taught you?

Only technically sound people can perform very well in this sector ?

No, there is a lot of value to soft skills unless you are a 1 in a billion person when it comes to a specific skill set. There is something to be said for communication, solving problems and various other areas that are outside of raw technical expertise.

How can I increase my effectiveness towards a solution(sometimes I thought the things can easily be done in a lesser time with what I am consuming) ?

My suggestion here would be to consider writing out things in 3 separate stages:

  1. Pre-work: This is before you've started something and want to record your estimates, why you thought them, and anything else to record so that you can find this data later without being revised as things went along.

  2. During work: This is where you make logs as the work goes along. While you can look at the previous stage's notes to see what may be worth referencing, it isn't necessary as much as it is finding various high-lights and low-lights to use for adjustments.

  3. Post-work: This is where you can now look back at the work and write up points similar to what you had at the start. How far off are your estimates? What was the hardest part of this task? Lots of points here to add as the last piece before doing the big analysis...

Once you have these pieces, then you can look over the whole picture to find changes to try next time or take a few of these to identify bigger patterns for yourself in your work and where you can change things to hopefully be more efficient in the future.

Something to ponder here is that if you can find something that keeps repeating as a thorny point, then it may be worth bringing in other resources to see if they can help you get past this issue. Perhaps someone will often change the UI of something and thus when you build it this should be prepared already. Note that this is a double-edged sword. If you guess well in terms of what may be useful then you may look great to some managers and be viewed highly. If you guess less than well then this may be seen as a large amount of waste as you build in features that are likely to be used very little and thus it isn't an efficient use of your time to program them in the beginning.

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Thx for the efforts..very detailed...pointing in the correct direction whr I am lagging in and points to the right area that I neglect commonly :) – swapnesh Jan 3 '13 at 4:30

[Please note that the answer below mostly covers the 'creativity' section of your question and I would suggest you break the others out into seperate questions to get more targeted answers]

First of all, don't put yourself down! You need to be in an optimistic and confident state of mind. I find that if there's too much pressure, I end up worrying about not coming up with ideas rather than spending that time actually having ideas!

To answer your question, there are many ways I have personally found useful (and fun) to enhance creativity (though remember that this might not exactly be your problem!). Here are a few suggestions for you to try out and determine what works for you:

  • Learn/read/see something new every day: this expands your horizons and gets your brain into gear. It can be either about your industry or nothing to do with it - find the right balance for you. Learning something new about your industry will help you stay up to date and feed your expertise on the matters at hand, but it's also important to learn/read things that are completely unrelated as often you'll find that these trigger ideas that you wouldn't have thought of before because you're looking at the problem in a different way.
  • Exercise the creative muscle: Think about how you could improve every day items or solve everyday problems and make your ideas crazy, even unrealistic. You want to exercise your mind the way you would exercise any muscle to build it up but in this case, some people find it easier to come back to a 'realistic' idea from a more 'far out' idea than to reach for the realistic ideas straight away (and it's much more fun this way!).
  • Automate other tasks to free up headspace: The basic premise of the book 'Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better' is that you should learn to automate the skills that you need at the moments when you need to be most creative to free up space in your brain for the creative thoughts. For example, if you're a football player, you might want to practice one drill over and over again so that it's automatic to you - this means it will become so natural that when you're in that moment of the game you don't have to think about it at all so your mental energy can focus on doing something out of the box or creative/unexpected (this is a simplistic example just to explain the concept!).
  • Take a walk or exercise: Get your mind off the task and the stress, this is not only good for your body but allowing your mind to take a break is often what it needs to consolidate all the information you've been providing it. You could even take a walk to a local museum and combine this with 'seeing something new'.
  • Interesting talks that motivate you when you're not feeling productive: TED Talks are a great resource, ones like this one: David Kelley: How to build your creative confidence

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by your second question but in terms of your third, it sounds like you might need to determine whether you're working slower than you should be (i.e. do you have a problem with distraction, motivation, procrastination, feeling overwhelmed, etc) or whether you're actually just underestimating the time things take to do. Once you've understood that, I suggest you post a separate question for this as I think you may be trying to ask too much from one question!

Best of luck, Ines

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+1 For ted, upvoted – swapnesh Jan 2 '13 at 12:28
Regarding my 2 point I mean if I have an idea do i need to be heal hard coder, as currently I am not..but i have ideas and stuck at the implementation points crafted beautifully to be a solution :) – swapnesh Jan 2 '13 at 12:34

You need to allow yourself to be bored. Make time to think, to let your mind wander. Your brain cannot both consume information and produce new ideas at the same time. When you are bored, your creativity is triggered.

So, put aside some time every day when you don't read, listen or watch anything -- but just think quietly and calmly for at least 30 minutes. This is really boring for most people, and almost unbearable!

The best way for me is to do this while walking. Walking seems to enhance your thinking. Just make sure you bring a pen and a notepad, so you can record all great ideas!

Read more:

Once you're beyond bored, you'll see something will happen. Ideas will flow. You will get creative because you have nothing else to do.


"Before smartphones came out, you had that down time where you sit on the bus and your mind just kind of wanders and you think of these amazing things. You get out that old thing called pen and paper and you jot it down."


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nice suggestion..i too agree with you as i am really busy with the work these days..will certainly going to try ur method :) +1 – swapnesh Jan 9 '13 at 8:30
Wow thx for the adds more innovative ideas :) – swapnesh Jan 9 '13 at 10:40
Boring yourself is a technique that's been around for centuries. People called it 'meditation' :P – Muz Jan 18 '13 at 11:25

Game designer Chris Crawford addresses this in Chapter 7 of his book, On Game Design. I think he described it well in the start of one of the segments:

The best strategy is to stuff your head full of concepts and all their associations. After all, the bigger the web of associations at your disposal, the greater the chance that you'll find some odd parallel between two ideas. Wouldn't it be great if you noticed a creatively useful connection between, say, dinosaur paleontology and Polynesian language structures? Of course, if you don't know much about dinosaur paleontology or Polynesian language structures, you'll never notice the connection, will you? You want to populate your mind with a wondrous and colorful diversity of ideas, a grand carnival of conceptual heterogeneity.

And how might you go about this task? Simple: You read. Herein lies the greatest failure of the younger game designers: They don't much believe in reading. “Hey, we're the video generation,” they tell me. “We were brought up on a steady diet of video. We won't put up with all those boring books. We need some sensory stimulation.” Some also claim that they can find anything they need to know on the Internet, so there's no need for books, they smugly assert.

The idea here is that creativity comes from finding an idea in some other genre, and using it as a solution to whatever problems your facing. A lot of my technical solutions come from an understanding of psychology; brains and computers function differently, even though they try to solve the same problem. A lot of computer scientists don't know a thing about psychology, so it appears to give me a 'creative' edge.

You don't need to read detailed books on various things, but just understand how anything works and how.

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Simple yet elegant :) +1 – swapnesh Jan 3 '13 at 6:00

when you are solving a problem, try to question and challenge every assumption you may have (about the problem, conditions around it etc) - this approach will help you to think out of the box.

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100% agree. This is the only thing that works. Thinking out-of-the-box means breaking the rules, assumptions and any other constraints. You can only think out of the box if you don't let your mind be locked out. – metalnoise Sep 26 '15 at 20:25

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